Sri Lanka in sights of bored SA travellers seeking new destinations

16 May 2017 - 19:30 By TMG Digital
Image: Sri Lanka Tourism/Colin Aantill

Sri Lanka is at the forefront of the hot destinations queue for South African travellers in 2017‚ according to a local travel centre.

Bali‚ Seychelles‚ Maldives‚ UAE and Egypt are also expected to be sought-after destinations for South Africans in 2017.

“South Africans are looking for something different. Many love Mauritius‚ Thailand and Australia and may have travelled there repeatedly‚ but now they’re looking for something different. That’s where these destinations come in‚” says Carlos Luis‚ from the Flight Centre Travel Group.

Luis says Sri Lanka is at the forefront of the hot destinations queue because of its beaches‚ culture and wildlife.

“Sri Lanka is becoming a very exciting destination globally and we expect that this will be on South Africans’ bucket list in 2017‚” he says.

Luis says Sri Lanka and Bali also “offer exciting alternatives to clients who love Thailand but are looking for something different”.

Women planning to visit are advised to practice caution‚ however.

Lonely Planet has flagged the country as a place where women travelling solo may experience uncomfortable levels of male attention‚ including groping hands on crowded buses or trains.

Overall the country is seen as safe for tourists.

A mid-range hotel is priced at under R1‚000 a night‚ according to the budget travel site‚ while meals at top-end places costs from R300.

The country is listed 8th out of 12 of the world's cheapest holiday destinations for 2017 by international travel search company Skyscanner. The top five on the list are Cambodia‚ Vietnam‚ India‚ Bolivia and Hungary.

South Africa is still a cheaper destination though. The price of a basket of 10 tourist items‚ including meals and drinks‚ costs £48.89 (about R830) in Cape Town compared with £70.61 in Colombo‚ Sri Lanka's capital‚ according to a survey.

See the holiday cost barometer here

Luis says the island nations of Seychelles and Maldives are the alternate destinations of choice for South Africans who love visiting Mauritius.

“For those South Africans who love Mauritius but have travelled there a number of times‚ we expect Seychelles and the Maldives to feature strongly this year. Although these destinations are often seen as similar kinds of holidays‚ Seychelles and Maldives offers a different kind of experience with a similar feel‚” he says.

However Luis says while Sri Lanka and the others are on the up‚ the old mainstays are still popular.

“Cape Town‚ Australia‚ Thailand‚ New York and Mauritius might not be the hot destinations this year‚ but they are still popular destinations for South Africans who will continue to travel there‚ if not necessarily in the same numbers‚” he says.